Shifting Gears at Ruppert Nurseries
Jack London once said, “Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?” Looking back at the year that was, it is easy to feel this way. Projects planned and yet somehow not completed, sales projected but perhaps fallen short, Coulda, woulda, shoulda….. . Yet as Jack London reminds us, the wheel turns and life moves forward.
And so we find ourselves suddenly in November. Autumn is all around us. From the buzz of summer and early fall we now settle into the comfort of deep autumn. Not quite winter and yet definitely no longer summer. Off to work in the morning in the dark. Home from work in the dark. Cool mornings and cooler evenings. Autumn, a necessary stage in our nursery game, is a fickle thing. Days that start out cold, become positively hot and then end cold again. Rainy days that are dreary and unproductive unlike the welcome warm rains of spring and summer. Fifth gear just became fourth.
At first the signs were gradual. A few turning leaves and then still more until finally there were leaves no more. Noisy Canadian geese who have come for their annual visit on their way to their winter nesting grounds. Suddenly, without warning, the winds that are winter’s precursor show up and with it the need for more layers. Step into the nursery office and you will be welcomed by the warmth and comfort of our wood stove; glad for the chance to be useful and appreciated once again. Those of us who can work in the office are likely to find more and more reasons to spend time inside rather than out.
However …. the return of autumn means one thing to us in this crazy nursery business. . It means we have only a bit more time to dig trees, plant liners and yes, make money. The proverbial making hay while the sun is shining is a daily motto. It might snow sooner than later. Rumors are already swirling about the evil return of the Polar Vortex. So we plug on. Layers on, focus forward. Dig trees, plant new ones, fill holes, grade roads get it all done! Fourth gear is now third but idling high as we struggle to get it all done in fewer hours of daylight each day.
As I drive the nursery now, I am struck by the beauty that autumn brings. So many of the trees are ablaze with their fall color. How fleeting though this beauty can be. Just as we are told to stop and smell the roses, I encourage you to stop to admire the foliage. Notice the patterns of the insects and animals working feverishly to prepare for winter. Say hello to the dogs packing on the pounds and fur. Don’t let this fleeting beauty slip away without notice. Pretty soon we’ll be counting days until the holidays when a new kind of frenzy will set in; when most make a sudden upshift from third back to fifth for a few manic weeks.
Carpe diem, friends!
Written By Ronda Roemmelt